Growing up with dial-up turned you into a total badass by Mike Fenn – Bell


Beeeeeep. Bong, bong. Beeeeeeeep. Hshhhhhhhht. Hshhhhhhhhtttttttttt.

We are all so familiar with that sound and visual above.  Yes, the horribly slow and painful way we had to log on to AOL. The lovely sounds of dial up.  Which was only possible to do when someone wasn’t using the phone or if you had two phone lines.  It is crazy to think about how far technology has come in only 10 years.  When you think about the current technology such as Facebook and Twitter,  you never realize how good we have it.  We really do take all of this for granted. Imagine logging on to your computer and having to sit there and wait to be connected to those sites.  We seriously complain when it takes a webpage more than 2 seconds to connect.  Even the children that are young now don’t know what it really was like to be patient when it came to the internet.  They have everything instantly when we sat back and just waited.  Back when AOL and Myspace were around we would sit there patiently waiting to be connected.  We never really thought about the future and if there would ever be a faster way to connect to those sites.  Fenn said, “There was no such thing as streaming video, and there was definitely no such thing as live streaming video; the average household computer connection simply couldn’t handle that constant of a data transfer. Instead, there existed small snippets of video that could only be played through bastard programs like RealPlayer.”  Could you image using such things are RealPlayer?!  I remember thinking that those programs were so cool, and how we don’t even need programs like them to do any of this.  Like Fenn said, we earned the internet and technologies that we have today.  We had to go through years of the slow connections and downloads.  Children now have it easy, everything they want they can get with a quick click of a button.  It’s sad that the struggle for them is when it takes a few more seconds for something on the internet to load.

“Today, getting online is as simple as double-clicking your Chrome, Mozilla, or Internet Explorer icon. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, however, there was a multi-step process involved:

1) Yell out to everyone in your household, “Is everyone off the phone? I want to get online!”

2) Repeat step 1 as necessary until the telephone line is, indeed, open for use.

3) Double-click the America Online button, enter your username and password, sign in.

4) A window will appear that reads “dialing.” Your computer modem will buzz to life and a series of sounds will spew from your speakers: a dial tone, a series of “bing”- and “bong”-like effects that sound like robots getting it on, and static.

5) Repeat step 4 as necessary. You rarely, if ever, connected on the first try.


1 Comment

  1. Ashley, I love the approach you took to this. It really made me think back to the days before we got wifi in my house and how upset I would be if I couldn’t go online and update my AOLKids blog. The irony of all wifi and the instant gratification is that if for some reason the whole wireless internet network collapses, very few people under the age of… say 16 will know about dial up.


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